Conscious Leadership – Awareness for Greatness

Character is the essential facet of leadership that allows leaders to earn their employees’ trust and to exercise influence both within and outside their organization. Throughout their day-to-day activities and actions, leaders communicate symbolically to their employees about who they are as individuals and what the organization represents in terms of its values and purpose.

Conscious leaders focus on identifying and meeting the needs of others rather than trying to acquire power for themselves. They embrace a holistic approach to leadership, one that also demonstrates humanistic values such as self awareness and empowerment of others. The awareness that conscious leaders possess enables them to easily understand what their employees need to be performing at a high level and they are working hard to get them to that level. These leaders also recognize and value the interdependent relationships they have with their stakeholders, such as business partners, vendors and the community in which they exist.

“Conscious leaders focus one ‘we’, rather than ‘me’.”

One of the most central principles of conscious leadership is listening to the people around you and listening well. However, conscious leaders not only listen well but they are also experts at recognizing what is going on beyond that which is being said. These leaders seek to discover the truth, decide what is right and then demonstrate the courage to act accordingly.

Here are suggestions for ways to build the conscious leadership mindset into your day-to-day activities at your workplace:
– Take time in the morning to meditate on your intentions for the day
– Ask your employees what you can do for them to make their jobs easier
– Stay thoughtful throughout the day
– Strategically place others where you fall short
– Create a safe and sustainable work environment
– Ensure that any employee, regardless of position, feel comfortable to bring forward new ideas and ask questions
– Listen, listen and listen
– Before going to bed, reflect on how your day was: what was good, what was less good and what can you learn from it
– Practise gratitude

Do you want to know more about conscious leadership and what it is? Get in touch with us for a dialogue about how conscious leadership can improve YOUR leadership and organization!

 

 

10 Ways To Lead By Example

skydiving-658405_1280Good leaders must lead by example. Through their actions, which are aligned with what they say, they become a person others want to follow. When leaders say one thing but do another, they erode trust, a critical element of productive leadership.

Here are 10 of the dozens of ways to lead by example.

  1. Take responsibility. Blame costs you your credibility, keeps team members on the defensive and ultimately sabotages real growth.
  2. Be truthful. Inaccurate representation affects everyone. Show that honesty really IS the best policy.
  3. Be courageous. Walk through fire (a crisis) first. Take calculated risks that demonstrate commitment to a larger purpose.
  4. Acknowledge failure. It makes it OK for your team to do the same and defines failure as part of the process of becoming extraordinary.
  5. Be persistent. Try, try again. Go over, under or around any hurdles to show that obstacles don’t define your company or team.
  6. Create solutions. Don’t dwell on problems; instead be the first to offer solutions and then ask your team for more.
  7. Listen. Ask questions. Seek to understand. You’ll receive valuable insights and set a tone that encourages healthy dialogue.
  8. Delegate liberally. Encourage an atmosphere in which people can focus on their core strengths.
  9. Take care of yourself. Exercise, don’t overwork, take a break. A balanced team, mentally and physically, is a successful team. Model it, encourage it, support it!
  10. Roll up your sleeves. Like Alexander the Great leading his men into battle, you’ll inspire greatness in your company.

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Are you experiencing too much stress in your life?

mindfulnessThere’s help to get! Check out our team’s favorite mindfulness tools. Not only are they great for lowering your levels of stress, you also bring them with you wherever you go.

“Being mindful is a way of life.”

Mindfulness is basically training in being present in the now. Does it sound like something strange? It’s not really. Mindfulness is an eastern way of living that reduces worry and stress. It’s a way to live in harmony with yourself and others. Mindfulness is simply a way to improve your quality of life.

The purpose with mindfulness training is to practice being as aware as possible, moment to moment. Practicing mindfulness improves both mental and physical health. Research has showed that some of its effects are that it: – reduces stress, – makes you less prone to develop acute illnesses and infections; – aids your body’s ability to heal and – brings mental clarity,

Also, with mindfulness training we develop a healthier perspective towards our thoughts and feelings. You could say that we get a “filter” through which we learn to see, feel and choose how to react on our thoughts and feelings, rather than just act instantly. Mindfulness makes you freer to choose the life you want to live.

Our team’s favorite apps

There are many great mindfulness apps on the market. Here are some of our team’s favorite ones:

The Mindfulnessapp 
One of the first mindfulness apps on the market and it’s been downloaded over 900 000 times. Developed by the two Swedes Magnus Fridh and Martin Vikfalk, the Mindfulness app has recently been improved even further.

Headspace
This American app is like ”a gym for your mind”. It offers a free version with 10 mindful days, with different meditations. If you like the app, get a subscription and they’ll give an app for free to a person in need. We love that!

Meditationernas Spotify  
Omvana is one of the world’s most popular meditation apps. It’s like a Spotify for relaxation, stressreduction and meditation. As a member you get to create your own meditation and you’ve got so many choices that you’ll never run out of new options.

Simply Being
Meditations app developed primary for relaxation and stress reduction. Simply Being includes several different meditations with music or nature sounds. The meditations are 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes long respectively so they are perfect to use “on the go”.

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How To Get Unrivalled Employee Engagement

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Imagine a workplace where employees take full ownership for their team’s performance and where the culture fosters innovation and interaction. Where transparent, honest and uplifting conversations take place between employees and leaders. Picture a workplace where employees are fully supported and where the culture has gone beyond ‘empowerment’. And then imagine achieving this, so that the organization has unmatched commitment, attendance, performance and customer satisfaction.

The spirit of employeeship

Does it sound too good to be true? It’s not. This is the spirit and the reality of employeeship. This simple, yet fundamental approach to transforming attitudes at work has provided outstanding results in Scandinavia. And now the rest of the world is catching on fast too.

Leaders and employees who have been engaged in employeeship see their role as much more than just the carrying out of formal instructions passed on from the leader to team members. They see it as a way of helping individuals grow, professionally but even more so in a deeply personal way. And since employeeship is about aligning individuals’ innermost values to what they do every day – in relation to their work and to the people they work alongside – they experience increased well-being in life.

Organizations that have successfully implemented a culture of employeeship not only get better everyday conversations between managers and co-workers but they also gain deeper knowledge of employees’ skills and talents. Furthermore, they experience a much greater sense of engagement and responsibility amongst their employees.

It’s not a program or project – it’s a culture

It’s important to remember that employeeship is not a development program or a project. It’s a work culture. One that is not implemented by simply improving employee engagement with suggestion boxes, “employee of the month”-awards or different bonus programs. It goes much deeper than that. It’s like empowerment on steroids – without negative effects.

Leaders and employees act together as partners in the workplace. That means acknowledging and taking responsibility for your part as a team member as well as standing up for what you believe is right. It means going beyond what is required in your job description. Employeeship is doing what is in the best interest for the team, the organization and foremost, for the customers. In its essence it is about placing yourself in a position where you act as a co-builder of the organization you belong to. Where you are part of something larger than yourself and your work isn’t just a job but a meaningful experience. How can it possibly get better than that?

If you want to know more about employeeship or about how to implement this fundamental game-changer in your organization too, get in touch with us for a dialogue on how we best can be of help to you.

5 Things Successful Leaders Do

Leader
No one is born a leader. Leadership, just like life, is a constant “work” in progress – a never ending growth process. It’s not always easy but it’s always fun! There are a few basic things you can do though to be a better leader:

1. Do. Not. Ever. Loose. Your. Temper.
I can not stress it enough, a successful leader never loses her temper. Your employees might forgive many of your shortcomings but I can assure you, they will not respect you if you can not control your anger. Nor should they – it’s an abusive attribute.

2. Include your team in your decision making process
Some leaders have a tendency to make all decisions by themselves. There’s really no valid reason for that. Your employees are chosen to work in your organization for a reason and regardless of their initial skills, by including them in your decision making process they will not only grow individually and as a team, but their improved workplace engagement will grow your business as well. Also, your employees are more likely to react positive to something when they are trusted with the reason(s) behind your decision. Make “why” one of your new favorite words.

“Great leaders explains the ‘why’ behind their reasoning.”
– Ulrika @GustoLifeGroup

3. Encourage learning
Successful leaders creates an open minded, conscious and positive work environment. Initiatives from their team members are encouraged. “Good” ideas are publicly recognized and ”bad” ideas are never trashed. As a matter of fact, what you say and how you act when presented with a new idea by an employee is part of that which will make or break your success.

boat-606187_12804. Be a coach and a role model
Being a leader also means being a coach. Learn, encourage and if needed, correct your team members. Just like with children, your employees aren’t going to do what you say, they’ll do what you do. Don’t expect – or worse, demand – that your employees live up to a standard that you do not live up to yourself. Lead by being a good example – “walk the talk” in other words.

5. Define your expectations
Clarity is always good! Be clear with your expectations on each individual employee but also on what you expect from them as a team. Use the organizations different policies, work descriptions and the employee hand book as tools – it’s what they are made for.

Remember that your employees have as much invested in your organization as you have. No matter their individual desires and goals, they want to feel good about their work. They want to succeed. As a leader, you’ve got a huge responsibility in making it happen – you can change someone’s life for the better. Do it, by being the best leader you can be!

Are You Really a Compassionate Leader?

There’s a great deal of focus in my life on personal and professional growth right now. It consumes me – in the most positive way – and I find it absolutely great, fun and so very inspirational. Anyway, I was talking with a friend today about my thoughts on the importance of a leader being compassionate – personally and professionally.

I firmly believe that no successful leader or individual can lack compassion as to me that equals being unaware of your true essence as a being. A compassionate individual sees things in people – they see their strengths and weaknesses as well as their passions and fears. They see what makes others special and they work to draw that out. A great leader recognize that compassion begins from within. And that it is only when you can forgive and love yourself, as you can give that forgiveness and love to others.

Fall, to rise again

However it seems that it is not until one individual, at one point or another in his/hers life, truly has fallen down that (s)he fully develop – and practise – compassion as it should be practised. This might not be so strange though considering that it usually is in the process of getting up from such “fall down” that you discover who you really are, what you truly care about and how you want to live the rest of your life. You learn so much more on the way up than you possibly can do at the top.

“Maybe it is true that it’s only when you have nothing, that you can learn what is truly meaningful to you!” – Ulrika @GustoLifeGroup

A great compassionate leader has done this journey, personally – spiritually – and professionally. And it’s through that journey – those challenges – that they have come to recognize that each and every one of us have something special within us. Such aware leader, or individual, also knows that it’s only through developing a meaningful relationship with another person that you can draw the gift of genuine compassion out in the open.

“Compassion is a verb.” – Ulrika @GustoLifeGroup

It’s not enough to just feel it though. Compassion is worthless unless you in fact do something with it! And this is why humility is the precursor to compassion. Humility is what opens you up in a way that enables compassion to “flow in” and become real.

A compassionate relationship

In a compassionate relationship you pull another person in by genuinely listening and asking questions. There’s a valuable lesson for you to learn from every individual and situation you encounter. As a compassionate leader you constantly need to ask yourself,
– Do I make people feel better about themselves?
– Do I make them feel like they are capable of achieving more than they ever thought they could do?
– Am I courageous enough to enpower others or does my fear cause me to micro-manage/want to control instead?
– What can I learn from this individual and this situation?

“Great leaders dare to be vulnerable” – Ulrika @GustoLifeGroup

That’s what compassion is all about – letting go of fear, daring to be vulnerable and be encouraging, caring, sharing, listening and loving towards others! And it’s amazing, it can be as easy as just listening or saying a kind word to a loved one, a stranger or a fellow employee.

True compassion

In his book An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life, Dalai Lama writes that true compassion “has the intensity and spontaneity of a loving mother caring for her suffering baby. Throughout the day, such a mother’s concern for her child affects all her thoughts and actions. This is the attitude we are working to cultivate with each and every being. When we experience this, we have generated great compassion.” Simple. And beautiful!

“A man is walking along a beach and comes across a boy picking something up off the sand and gently throwing it into the ocean. Curious, the man asked, ‘What are you doing?’

‘I am throwing starfish into the ocean,’ the boy answered. ‘The sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them in, they will die.’

The man said, ‘Well, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t possibly make a difference.’

The little boy bent down and he picked up another starfish and threw it into the surf. He smiled at the man and said, ‘But I made a difference to that one.’ ” – The Star Thrower

How do you add value to your team?

Successful leaders know that “you’re only as strong as your weakest links”. They know that everyone imagesCAZ3E01Hin a team has his own role to play and that each team member is an important part in the wheel that keeps the organization moving forward.

They also know that no job is a meaningless job – personally I even find it offensive when someone has such attitude regarding certain jobs or workers – and that every individual whom are to become part of the organization needs to be carefully selected.

The question is, how does one select the “right” team member? Well, when great leaders develop teams they aren’t just assembling the right skills or experiences – they are determining the right people, the right individual. These leaders know, often from their own hard-earned experience, that it’s easy to be blinded by a fancy resumé, great numbers or outstanding referrals and, by that, forget what’s really important in the long run – the individual person and the values of that person. These leaders put collaboration high on their own value list and they are well aware of the fact that shared values are essential for a team’s success. The shared values acts like a solid foundation to build the team’s success on.

WimagesCA37NQ0Ahen looking to add a new member to your team and organization, first take a closer look at the values of your organization – what your organization as a whole stands for. And then combine those values with the skills and experience that is needed to get the job done effectively. By doing so you’ll get the “right” team member, one which not only can do the job but also complement your team as well as your organization – the one with the ability to utilize the great resources the other team members possess. And remember, “a skill is generally replaceable, but each individual is unique”.

Useful questions:
– Does this person have something to offer the team and the organization?
– How will (s)he fit in the team’s/organization’s dynamic?
– Will adding this person add to the values of the team and the organization?

How do you select new employees and team members? What’s your top priority? What is it that you are looking for in a potential candidate?